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Rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey a task to require extraordinary effort

September 20, 2017 Posted by Patrick A. Berzinski COMMENTS (0)

By Harold J. Raveché, Ph.D.
Opinion Contributor
TheHill.com

September 3, 2017

Owning a shore home in New Jersey situated four miles from where Hurricane Sandy made landfall in 2012 – and a second home in a Vermont town that was destroyed by Irene – I have profound personal empathy for the difficulties faced by Texas victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Before discussing the challenges of rebuilding, there is very good news for America from Harvey.

The outpouring of volunteer assistance (think Cajun Navy) is truly an outstanding example of a citizenry united in selfless acts of rescue – neighbors helping neighbors in crisis. This outreach by thousands of Americans to other Americans stands in stark contrast to the recent news of hateful acts perpetuated by an isolated (but highly publicized) few.

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Indonesia is just beginning to realize its potential for greatness

September 20, 2017 Posted by Patrick A. Berzinski COMMENTS (0)

By Harold J. Raveché, Ph.D.
Opinion Contributor
TheHill.com

August 23, 2017

With the largest population and economy in Southeast Asia, substantial oil and gas reserves, richness in gold and silver, and the burst of startups in online services, Indonesia has the potential for global greatness. But there are indeed challenges to greatness for the world’s largest Muslim majority country, with its 259 million residents and G20 membership.

On two recent occasions in Jakarta, gridlock from hundreds of buses, transporting thousands of demonstrators, restricted me to my hotel where I had clear views of the crowds. I also had a clear view of the Istiqlal Mosque, the largest in Southeast Asia. Adjacent is the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Mary. During the demonstrations, and on numerous previous occasions, I have witnessed both Muslims and Catholics walking peacefully to their respective houses of worship.

However, the country’s government missed an opportunity to demonstrate greatness in tolerance of religious and ethnic differences on Aug. 17, Indonesia’s day of independence, when many prisoners are traditionally pardoned and released from prison. But this year, authorities refused to release former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaya Purnama (Ahok), along with 92,000 others who had been granted pardons.

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